So much for the afterglow
“The wrong we have done, thought, or Intended will wreak its vengeance on our souls.”
If there is one thing that impresses me, it is when a film kicks off with a quote from a psychiatrist -philosopher (in this case it is Carl Jung, though I don’t know if he really said this, it might all be a ruse).
The Forsaken is the 2015 follow up to the 2014 supernatural thriller The Afterglow. I applauded the craft that went into The Afterglow but it was never going to be my jam. “Sexual awakenings with dead girls” are not something I, personally want from cinema. It was not overly shocking; it was just a bit weird.
Pleasingly The Forsaken is quite the change of pace. Here, an unlikely gang of criminals led by Mr. Bodie (Ian Breeds, The Supers) have kidnapped a young lady Sara (Claudia Trujillo, It Came From The Desert, The Hunter’s Prayer), for financial gain. In doing so, they must all spend a night in a ramshackle old house. Initially, their discomfort is somewhat mild, trying to get a phone signal to find out the Liverpool – Everton score in the soccer cup. But, before the night is through, they must face the wrongs they have done.
I might not like sexy times with dead ladies, but I do very much like a bunch of people trying to survive the night in a haunted house (even if the shack in the Evil Dead was not, technically haunted).
One of the gang members finds some spooky pages, in a tin under the bed. From there, things slowly ramp up. But the film does a decent job of sketching out our characters before things get too bonkers.
Direction, sound design and music are all still good (albeit Yolanda Torres’ direction is a bit too modern for my tastes, with some jarring quick pan shots). The ramshackle old house does, at times remind me of an Escape Room scenario than a film. The props sometimes look a lot like props, rather than real-world items.
The beauty of horror, as a genre, is that clever filmmakers (John Carpenter, count the ways I love you so) can make genre-defining works with tiny budgets. It is oft-stated that wannabe filmmakers should round up some friends and make a zero-budget horror film to learn the craft of film making (a la Evil Dead). The Forsaken is not a genre-defining masterpiece, but it is a decent little horror film based on sound ideas. Sometimes it looks like what it is (a low budget student film) but more often than that, I forget that.
This might not be a classic to rival the masters, but it is to be respected and I quite enjoyed it. If you enjoy The Forsaken you might also enjoy The Evil Dead (remake or Evil Dead 2, the Canadian horror film Cube or the predictable, but thoroughly enjoyable Mickey Rourke classic Angel Heart.